SALT LAKE CITY — Ahead of the film’s Netflix debut this Friday, Zac Efron appeared on "The Ellen Show" Tuesday and directly addressed the initial concerns that “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” glorifies Ted Bundy.
"The goal was a very challenging one and I'm thrilled that it turned out the way that it did," Zac told Ellen. "I am not into portraying a serial killer or anybody of this nature or glamorizing them in any way ... it does not glamorize the killing. This is an important thing for people to hear."
When the trailer for “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” dropped in January, it drew quick criticism for appearing to glamorize serial killer Ted Bundy.
"The trailer for this movie glamorizes Ted Bundy more than anything. I want to see it, but I hope the movie isn't the way the trailer depicts it," one Twitter user wrote.
"Not sure the story of Ted Bundy needed a trailer this preppy or drenched in the aesthetic of 'cool,'" read another tweet.
“I feel so bad for the families of the victims that have to sit there and see their terrors revived as a witty romantic thriller,” another social media user wrote.
When the film released in Sundance earlier this year, Efron told Entertainment Tonight, “It doesn't really glorify Ted Bundy. He wasn't a person to be glorified. It simply tells a story and sort of how the world was able to be charmed over by this guy who was notoriously evil and the vexing position that so many people were put in, the world was put in.”
On "Ellen," Efron talked more the film, calling it an “introspective, intelligent look” into the minds of Bundy and his longtime girlfriend Liz (played by Lily Collins), as well as a look into the minds of the public at the time.
"Ted Bundy was a clean-cut white dude, white person, so talk about white privilege. What he got away with back then, nobody would be able to do today," Efron said.
Efron added that an interesting thing about Bundy is that he “did crave certain things,” as evident by his relationship with Liz.
"Do sociopaths who, in theory, are only looking out for themselves or are maladjusted to other people's feelings, do they not have personal needs?” Efron asked. “Do they not have things that they want, that they desire? Is love not one of those things? So, it's another interesting look."
Efron’s comments about how the film does not glamorize Bundy were reiterated by the film’s director Joe Berlinger.3 comments on this story
In an interview with Digital Spy, Berlinger said glamorizing Bundy is the “last thing” his movie does.
"I feel that some of the criticism you're referring to are people who aren't really watching the film,” Berlinger said. “Because you can't watch this film and say that we're glamorizing or glorifying Bundy. What we're doing is portraying the psychology of deception and betrayal. And that is an important social message."
“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” will be in select theaters and on Netflix Friday, May 3.